I was so encouraged Monday night as we hosted the RCBA Evangelism and Discipling Conference. We had a great turn out of people from all over our association of churches who came to receive instruction and exhortation to spread the gospel by serving and loving others.
We also had a great turn out from our church. I was a proud pastor as many of our folks came to learn how to practice evangelism and discipleship with children, with youth, and with adults. I sat in on the sessions geared toward adults, and the content was excellent.
Fishers of Men
We were reminded of Matthew 4:19 where Jesus says to His disciples when He called them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Dr. Larry Gilmore, who led the adult sessions, made the connection that if we are not fishing for men then we are not following Christ. If we are following Christ, we will be fishing for men, and we will be seeing converts to Christ.
Fishing Day—March 24
As we ask what this looks like for our church, I’ve come up with something that I think would help us to instigate this focus on casting our line out into the community. On March 24 we will be having a fishing day. Immediately after the morning service we will stay for a light lunch and then we will be going into the community in order to invite people to our Easter service the next week. We will also be looking for open doors to share the gospel. Pray for this day as we kick off a renewed focus on engaging the world for Christ.
My prayer for all of us is that as followers of Christ, we would be fishers of men. As fishers of men, we have a responsibility to pray for a large catch, to prepare using the best bait, and to be faithful to continually cast our lines. As disciples, we also have the responsibility to disciple others and teach them to observe everything that Jesus has commanded. Let us be faithful in both of these.
The Great Commission
Followers of Jesus have long believed that the chief charge from Jesus is to make more followers. In other words, we have the task of multiplying. The word used for followers in Scripture is “disicples,” and Matthew 28:19-20 sums up this commission.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I command you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
To understand the commission a little better, I’ve broken it down into four lines. The first line is the charge to make disciples of all the nations, and the last line is the comfort that we have as we make more—He is always with us. Sandwiched in between is the method of how we do that.
Does this mean that we should just dunk as many people as possible? No. Baptism had a heavy weight to it in the first century. It was an affirmation that you were forsaking all other ways and following Christ. In other words, to baptize someone meant that they had been told the gospel of Jesus, they believed in it and trusted in Him, and they were forsaking all else. That’s the first half of making disciples—calling people to trust in Christ alone for salvation.
But it does not stop with baptism. A host will not receive someone through the door only to tell him to find food or drink or rest for himself. In the same way, to make disciples means to teach young Christians to observe what Jesus commanded. This teaching and learning continues for the life of the disciple.
I believe we as a church could dive deeper into what this means for us. How do we structure ourselves so that we are a healthy disciple-making church? How do we make new converts and how do we assimilate them into our body?
On February 25, we will host the RCBA Evangelism and Discipleship Conference. I hope you will plan to attend and learn more about how we link together to make sure we are completing the charge we’ve received from Christ.